Ray the Animation
|Ray the Animation|
Promotional image for Ray the Animation
|Genre||Science fiction, Medical, Comedy, Romance|
|Written by||Akihito Yoshitomi|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Original run||2004 – 2006|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Naohito Takahashi|
|Written by||Atsuhiro Tomioka|
|Studio||OLM & Tezuka Productions|
|Original network||Family Gekijou
|Original run||April 6, 2006 – June 29, 2006|
The story takes place in the near future, and describes a young girl living in an institution that raised children in order to sell their organs on the black organ transplant market. Because the identifying numbers on her back equal zero when subtracted (075 - 1 - 74), the girl had christened herself "Ray" since Rei is the Japanese word for zero. After losing her original eyes she was rescued and outfitted with a pair of new X-Ray eyes by the underground doctor Black Jack and was adopted by a surgeon named Dr. Kasugano. Upon receiving her sight back Ray was told that her life was now hers to live as she wished.
Ten years later Ray has taken up her mother's profession and become a well known and respected surgeon because of her unique abilities and sharp skill. After beginning work at a less-than-typical hospital, Ray is faced with bizarre cases that require her specials skills; ranging from a dangerous pathogen that requires her to perform surgery underwater to a girl seemingly possessed by a malignant entity. In the second half of the series she begins to uncover details about the organization that removed her eyes and the whereabouts of the other children she was raised with, and the storyline takes up bioethical issues such as organ donation, human cloning and even reincarnation.
Like its counterpart Black Jack 21, the show favors science-fiction elements in place of realism, with cases often resembling actual medical conditions but with fantastical elements added to heighten drama.
- Ray Kasugano
Ray Kasugano (春日野 零) is the main character and an expert surgeon. Ray is often thought of as distant and private by her coworkers. Her cool demeanor and precision with a scalpel make her a sought-out surgeon for difficult cases. She is disturbed by memories of her childhood and continuously searches for the children she was raised with, especially her first love, Kouichi but she also begins to like Shinoyama Toshiaki too.
- Shinoyama Toshiaki
Shinoyama Toshiaki (篠山利明) is a manufacturer of artificial organs that he claims are "top of the line." Shinoyama is Ray's business partner and harbors romantic feelings for her. Often depicted as a playboy and a slacker, he cares deeply for the people who depend on him. Despite Ray's seeming indifference (and often annoyance) with him, Shinoyama has expressed that he is happy with their relationship even if it remains the same, and claims that he will leave if he can no longer be of service to Ray. However, in later episodes he feels conflicted by the reappearance of Koichi, and is continually goaded by Misato to make the first move.
- Aka Ribbon
Aka Ribbon (アカリボン, lit. Red Ribbon) was one of the children Ray was raised with. Like many of the children, she named herself after her most valuable possession. At some unknown point she and Ray were separated until being reunited ten years later in the hospital where Ray worked. Red Ribbon suffered from amnesia and at first did not recognize Ray as a former friend after being found at the scene of an accident, looking disoriented and with a broken arm. It was later revealed that she was sent by the organization that raised Ray and herself, and was carrying a dangerous mind-controlling parasite that possessed several staff members until Ray was able to remove it. She now lives with Ray and often tags along on patient visits. Often her childlike demeanor puts her in the role of comic relief during particularly heavy storylines. In later episodes she is shown to be more aware of her situation than previously indicated, and begins to show hostility towards Ray, that while largely unnoticed, suggests that she may have been fully aware of her situation from the start. It is later revealed that she was working with Koichi to keep tabs on Ray and likely never had amnesia in the first place. Red Ribbon is also deeply in love with Koichi, but is annoyed that he only has eyes for Ray, which she sees as a disgusting relationship because Ray is essentially Koichi's mother genetically. She dies after getting shot by Koichi, when she threatens to inflict harm upon Ray with a scalpel in a jealous rage.
- Director Sawa
Director Sawa (沢院長) is the eyepatch wearing director of the hospital. He enjoys appearing frightening (as he shows in his first encounter with Red Ribbon) but is actually quite caring about both his patients and staff. He was the person who rescued Ray 10 years ago when she was left for dead, and in the process lost his right eye and leg. He worked with Dr. Kasugano and the H Ring man before the three split 20 years ago.
- Dr. Kasugano
Dr. Kasugano (春日野) is Ray's adoptive mother and herself a surgeon, Dr. Kasugano worked along with Sawa and the H Ring man to establish a hospital 20 years ago. After Ray was rescued Kasugano took in and raised Ray as her own child, hoping that she would never have to reveal her daughter's true origins. Presented as a kind and caring mother, Kasugano taught Ray all she knows about being a surgeon and appears near the end of the series to help her adopted daughter reconcile with their shared past.
Misato (美里) is the ox horns and glasses-sporting nurse who first encountered Ray at the scene of an accident, Misato was awed by Ray's abilities and assisted her in helping the injured to safety. She has told Ray that despite the ability to see through anything with her eyes, Ray is still unable to see into people's hearts and understand their emotions, referencing her relationship (or lack thereof) with Shinoyama. As a result, she encourages Shinoyama to confess his feelings to Ray. Like all the nurses she appears skilled in martial arts and can singlehandedly take on a group of thugs trying to stop an operation.
Rie (利江) is another nurse with pigtails who works with Misato. She often suggests absurd-sounding reasons for an illness that may or may not be the case. She is the cheeriest of the hospital nurses and a good friend of Mami and Rumi.
Rumi (留美) is a nurse at the hospital often seen with Rie and Mami. She has an unreciprocated crush on Shinoyama and a generally shy and nervous personality.
Mami (真美) is the fourth nurse and the quietest of the group. It is implied that she may be a lesbian or bisexual.
Sumire (すみれ) is a childhood acquaintance of Shinoyama, referring to him by the intimate name "Toshi-kun". Sumire is the daughter of the head of a major pharmaceutical company and is the test subject for many of the artificial organs her father's company manufactures. She is shown to be fanatically devoted to Shinoyama despite his rejection of her romantic advances and feels Ray is only using him for her own purposes. In order to have her organs replaced by ones made by Shinoyama she purposely damages her own body. It is revealed in episode 12 by Red Ribbon that she was the recipient of Ray's original eyes.
Kenji (賢治) is a young boy at the hospital who is always kept in isolation behind a glass wall. He appears to have some sort of immune deficiency that requires him to be sequestered from other people. He is also shown as having a psychic ability and is able to see Ray's memories when she puts her hand up to the glass. The end of the series suggests that there may be a way to cure his condition and it is implied by the nurses that he and Honoka (the clone) have begun to develop a mutual affection.
Koichi (コーイチ) is Ray's first love, revealed in a flashback to have proposed escaping with Ray from the farm where they were raised. He has been missing since Ray's rescue, making contact with Ray in episode 7 from an unknown location requesting to meet with her. He makes his first physical appearance after One attempts to kill Ray, though he still does not allow Ray to get close to him at that time. It is later revealed that he is a clone of the H Ring Man and was working for him, and the reason he was willing to do the bidding of the person he despises most was to track down Ray and to create a utopia with her by recreating life in the "white room" which included gathering all of the numbers and restoring Ray to her original self, which involved returning her original eyes which were implanted into Sumire. He grows increasingly maniacal throughout the series, and despite his insistence that he is nothing like the man he was cloned from, he shows the same level of obsession with Ray, who genetically is a clone of the H Ring man's mother. After he kills Red Ribbon, who makes a jealous attempt at Ray's life with a scalpel because of her unreciprocated crush on him, he commits suicide by shooting himself in the head, believing that Ray has died.
- The H Ring Man
The H Ring Man (Hリングの男) is the apparent head of the organization that raised Ray and the children. He has been shown as responsible for Ray's loss of her eyes as well as the parasite that infected Red Ribbon. He, along with Ray's mother Dr. Kasugano and Dr. Sawa, established the hospital where Ray and the others now work over 20 years ago. Eventually he split from the two and began his real research: Human cloning that would allow the copies to keep the memories of their former lives, effectively a reincarnation of the deceased. Ray and One are revealed to be clones of his dead mother in episode 10, and he is shown as possibly having an Oedipus complex in relation to her. His mother's name is revealed to be Honoka, hence his trademark "H" signit. The children Ray was raised with, referred to as "The Numbers", were all considered failures with the exception of Honoka (the clone), being unable to obtain their former memories. Hence they were used as unwilling organ donors "as a form of recycling", according to Dr. Kasugano.
One (ONE) is 078 - 3 - 74, leading to a total of 1 when subtracted, while Ray (Zero) was number 075 - 1 - 74. She and Ray were cloned from the same woman, though One shows much more violent and malevolent tendencies. She is distinguished from Ray physically by her red lipstick and longer, more unkempt hair. One claims to have conscious memories of her former life and as a result tries to kill Ray, whom she sees as a failure and a competition for the affections of the H Ring Man, with whom she shares a strained relationship as a result of her violent attitude. However, upon being unable to remember her former self's name she is pronounced useless and shot by Koichi under orders from the H Ring Man, declaring her love for him even as she dies.
Saeko is a young girl and resident of Hotarudani, Saeko's perfect resemblance to her father's dead wife of the same name made some in the village believe her to be a product of a form of witchcraft to bring back the dead. Often ill and out of school, she was at a hospital in Tokyo receiving supposedly life-saving treatment at the time of the disappearance of all the other villagers and is kept indoors by her paranoid father. After it is discovered that she suffers the fatal congenital heart defect that killed her father's wife she is revealed to actually be a clone of the dead woman and an expiriment of the H Ring Man. After she goes into a state of cardiac arrest Ray performs emergency surgery on the girl, and despite knowing that Saeko has only a short time to live Ray encourages her father to spend their remaining time together and father and daughter, instead of trying to replace the dead.
Honoka, (not to be confused with the H Ring Man's dead mother) is yet another clone who has memories of her former life. Appearing to only be around 8 years old, she is shown comforting the H Ring Man like his real mother would have in the preserved town he built in order to fulfill his fantasy of reliving his childhood before his mother died when he was 10 years old. She is injured in an attempt to protect the H Ring Man from Koichi, but luckily survives and is taken to the hospital, where it is revealed that her cloned memories are beginning to fade and will likely be gone by the time she is an adult. She also appears to take a liking to Kenji, who is shown helping her reconcile her memories at the end of episode 13.
Blue is named for his most prized possession, a blue marble, Ray is reunited with her old friend in the first chapter of the manga, and he also makes a small appearance in the last episode of the anime among the reunited Numbers, though he has no lines. Blue has no memories of his past, much like Red Ribbon, and Ray finds him under attack by H Ring Man's people. He is deliberately infected with a deadly fungus planted within his lungs, which if Ray does not operate and remove within twenty minutes the spores of the fungus will be released and Blue, as well as those who inhale the spores, will die. Ray is successful in her operation, though remains unsettled by Blue's reappearance, which is marked with the H Ring Man's people commenting that the H Ring Man is continually watching her. Blue is hospitalized thereafter, where he remains an amnesiac. Tightly clenched in his hand is the blue marble from his childhood; to protect Blue, Ray does not unclench his hand to prevent Blue from recalling his painful past before he is ready.
Miyabi is a friend of Ray's who appears in episode 5. When they were in school together, Miyabi served as the miko of her family's shrine to the god Hitogami, a kami who wished to become human. During a ceremony in which she was fed an oyster-like organism Miyabi developed a very large and blister like growth and appeared to be possessed by a male entity, causing Ray to remove the growth on her own in her very first surgery. Ray speculated that the oyster was actually the spirit of Hitogami trying to possess the girl and gain a body as in the legend.
- Black Jack
Black Jack (ブラック・ジャック Buraku Jaku?) is the surgeon who outfitted Ray with her X-Ray eyes. He is originally from Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack and appears briefly in episode 1 and again at the end of episode 13.
- Because of copyright reasons, Black Jack was only alluded to as BJ and never seen fully in the original manga, but because the anime was produced by Osamu Tezuka's own studio he is able to appear fully in the anime (though still somewhat obscured) and be referred to by his original name. Interestingly, in Black Jack 21, the sequel to the Black Jack anime, Black Jack was referred to as "BJ" by the assassins hell bent on killing him.
- At the end of episode 12 and throughout episode 13 the bandage over Ray's damaged eye may be a visual reference to another famous anime character with the same name; being Rei Ayanami of Neon Genesis Evangelion, who appears several times with a bandage over her right eye. The two characters also share the same red-colored eyes and distant personalities, as well as some elements of their unique origins.
^ - As indicated in episode 4, "Red Ribbon"